Plastic bags have some unique problems. While their environmental impact for wildlife, communities and the planet are large, the cost of making and sourcing plastic bags is pretty low. Made from ethylene, a by-product of petrol or natural gas, plastic bags are a cheap and functional product for retailers, but as a result, shoppers end up with piles of plastic bags spilling out of cupboards and wondering what to do with them all.
With a bit of thought, we can find practical uses for them. Of course, some of us already reuse plastic bags, when we go shopping, line our waste bins or pick up dog poo, but many bags will still end up in landfill having only been used once – from shop to bin.
Even when disposed of properly, plastic bags are so lightweight and flimsy, they are easily picked up and carried by the wind. They escape from bins and landfills, and end up littering the countryside, blowing down the street, flapping from trees, clogging drains, and making their way out to sea. Unfortunately they may stay in the environment for hundreds of years, thereby causing harm for a very long time.
But it’s not just plastic bags, all types of plastic pollution is having a huge negative impact on wild animals and the environment around the world. Plastic is everywhere and used in numerous ways in our daily lives – it is even in the food we eat! The message is clear to all, we must try to reduce our use of plastic and keep recycling as much as possible to reduce waste.
So what can we, as individuals, do with all these plastic bags to alleviate the problem? Here are some useful suggestions you may not have thought of.